Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 12: Advice for Owners with Injured Top Stars
Fantasy football playoffs are just around the corner, but injured NFL stars are giving fantasy owners headaches as teams push for the postseason.
It's difficult to find a player who is not banged up this late into a season, so fantasy owners have a hard time deciding who to go with each week. Injuries can make it tough to manage a team.
Stars who have had solid seasons but are injured make it even tougher to set a lineup. If it's a questionable call, go with the star over a sleeper. Most big-time players will still put up good numbers even if they are nicked up.
This season has featured numerous stars going down with serious injuries, and other stars have made an appearance on the injury report.
Some of the top teams are dealing with injured game-changers. NFL teams need to deal with injuries just like fantasy owners do. As you are setting your lineup, just remember that teams pushing for the postseason will be doing what's in their best interest moving forward.
So who is worthy of a start and who should be benched in Week 12?
*All stats are from NFL.com
Start 'Em: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
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Julio Jones is dealing with an ankle injury, but he is worthy of a start this week.
Going into last week's game against the Arizona Cardinals, he had five good games in a row. He had over 90 yards in three of the five games and had two touchdowns in that span. He has been held under 60 yards only three times this season, so he is going to put some points every week.
What makes this a smart pick is their opponent. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers rank dead last in passing defense, so Matt Ryan can get his receivers involved this game. They also rank near the bottom of the league in yards per pass, which is good for an explosive player like Jones.
The 23-year-old is averaging nearly 16 yards per catch this season. He will get his chance to make an impact on this game and help fantasy owners.
The Atlanta Falcons are one of the best teams in the NFL, and it makes sense to start most of the players on their offense.
Sit 'Em: Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
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One Falcon not worth starting is running back Michael Turner. He is currently dealing with a groin injury, and he is not worth putting in your lineup if you have other options.
The running back is averaging under 60 rushing yards per game this season, and he has only topped 100 yards in a game twice this year. He has only scored five touchdowns this season despite his team's success.
Although Tampa Bay has the league's worst pass defense, the team also has the NFL's best rush defense. It's not a huge surprise because teams have been able to pass all over its defense, so running backs have not had to do much.
The Buccaneers are only allowing 81 yards per game on the ground, which is not a good sign for Turner.
If he starts this week, it would not be wise to start him on your fantasy team. He is averaging under four yards per carry on the season and has struggled even more recently. In the last two games, he has 61 yards on 28 carries.
Tampa Bay is tough to run on, and an injured Turner should not get a start in most leagues this week.
Start 'Em: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
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Andrew Luck has been one of the best stories in the NFL this season, and his big season will continue this week against the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills rank in the bottom half of the league in pass defense. They will need to be prepared for a Colts team that is coming off of a blowout loss to the New England Patriots.
Luck is dealing with a knee injury, but he will start this week. He will be looking to bounce back after the worst performance of his young career. He threw three interceptions last week and has twice as many picks as touchdowns in the past two weeks.
He may not be as mobile as he usually is, but his passing will be the key this week.
The rookie is due for a big game against a team that has trouble stopping quarterbacks. He has bounced back nicely twice this season after poor performances, so he has shown that he has a short memory.
Unless you have an elite quarterback like Drew Brees on your team, give Luck a start this week. The matchup is favorable, and Luck has something to prove this week.
Sit 'Em: Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
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Dwayne Bowe is dealing with a neck injury, but he would not be worth the start in Week 12 even if he were healthy. He is listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
The Denver Broncos have one of the top passing defenses in the league, and the Kansas City offense is a mess right now. Coach Romeo Crennel is giving quarterback Brady Quinn the start over Matt Cassel.
Bowe has had a couple big games this season, but he has failed to produce in recent weeks.
The wide receiver has not had more than 80 receiving yards or a touchdown since Week 4 against the San Diego Chargers. He was also held without a catch last week against the Cincinnati Bengals.
He is well below his numbers from the past two seasons, and the team's current situation does not help his chances. Opposing teams can take him out of the game and force the Chiefs to find another answer.
Bowe's injury and the team's quarterback situation should scare fantasy owners. There are many different options you can go with at receiver, so start just about anybody over Bowe this week.